Saturday, May 31, 2008

I just want to try this!

Ok, so I'm just wanting to see how this works—it's the creation of a blog post through MS Word. Pretty spiffy, I must say. J

Now, I'm testing to see if my DANTE stuff is working properly--need to get it figured out before I post my story set!

video upload issues

So my last two story videos are not uploading properly and I can't view them! Dagnabit! I've contacted google and we'll see what's going on.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just for fun

So, yeah, as you know, I teach history. I love it and I love finding stuff that I can use in my class. I think that They Might Be Giants are great at turning history into songs (and stories). Here's one that I just found out about:


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Schwenkfelders

This is my family story (or, more accurately, my husband's family.). You may use or adapt this story if you wish.

The text that I wrote for the story is as follows:

Schwenkfelder Migration

Until 1517, if you were a Christian, and you lived in Europe, you were Catholic. That’s the way it was. But, in 1517, with one hammer stroke, a single act calling for church reform changed the face of European—and church—history. Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation, splitting the European Catholic church in half, mostly along nationalist lines. But, in the Holy Roman Empire, fragmented in feudal kingdoms, each kingdom faced off, divided in terms of ethnic pride and religious affiliation. The whole of Europe was choosing allies: Martin Luther or the Pope. Who would come out on top?
One Silesian, Caspar Schwenkfeld, initially sided with Martin Luther, but as he began to study the Bible more and more, split from Luther and formed the Middle Way. Not surprisingly, in this time of religious and political turmoil, Schwenkfeld was persecuted for his seeking an alternate path to the teachings of Luther and the Church. As he sought refuge in various safe houses, he amassed a group of followers throughout Germany and Silesia, who became known as the Schwenkfelders. This group, a paltry 1200, eventually settled in lower Silesia. The government, alternatingly Lutheran or Catholic, took turns persecuting the Silesians. By 1700, persecution was a matter of course for this group of tenacious followers.
The Catholic church ordered a pair of Jesuit priests to convert the Schwenkfelders. Finding this difficult, they made life difficult—refused baptism in the church, refused the Schwenkfelders to leave, and others. Quietly, 500 Schwenkfelders snuck out of town under the cloak of darkness, fleeing to Saxony and the hope of a safe life. When the Baron of Saxony was alive, the followers lived in relative peace; but, seven years after arriving in Saxony, he died. The Jesuits saw the opportunity to demand the return. Fearing for their way of life, the Schwenkfelders began to prepare to flee again. This time, they decided to try Pennsylvania because it already sheltered many German immigrants and other religious groups fleeing persecution in Europe.
They contacted the Dutch government, who paid for the transportation of the group. In 1734, the largest wave of Schwenkfelders landed in Pennsylvania. All men over age 16 took a loyalty oath to the British government and the group settled in America. Among that group were my husband’s ancestors, the Meschters (who were evidentally called Meyster prior to immigration).

Why, oh, why?

Why do I have such difficulty in telling these stories live? I get so nervous to tell them to people (or, perhaps it's more accurate to say I become self-conscious) and get tongue-tied. Bah.

Poetry in Storytelling

Here is a great video presentation of "The Lady of Shalot" by Loreena McKennet.

I love this story! :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Picture book to story

This is the story of the Lorax, used with flannel board.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

story thoughts

Ok, so I have two thoughts as I'm working on my upcoming stories:

1.) Way over my head with my picturebook adaptation. too late now to switch. dangit!

2.) My husband's family (for my family story) is very interesting! We don't really know any of my family's stories, so it's really cool to find out about his family. (though, he thinks it's boring since he grew up with these stories.). His family totally immigrated to the US to escape religious persecution. It's cool.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Parent-Teacher Conferences...

This week, we had Parent Teacher Conferences (or SLCs-Student Led Conferences--as they are known in my district) until 7:00 PM Wednesday and Thursday. Talk about a brutal day! But, it was really interesting. While I didn't have very many parents visit, the few that did told stories of their families. It was a great reminder that while we might not all be "Storytellers" per se, we all have stories to tell. A dad told me about his life growing up in Puerto Rico; a mom about her son's continual battle to do his work and how it's not his fault; a parent about how the daughter comes home and asks questions about love (very common for those 9th graders!); a student about her plans for the weekend; and me, about what we're doing in class at the moment.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Storyteller's Critique

Here is my critique. In all, the stories were so different, that the differences between them all are quite evident. The things that I would take away from these tales would be:
1.) Enjoy what you're doing.
2.) Singing, movements, props, etc. need to be natural for you.
3.) Tell lots of stories!
4.) Tell stories with friends.

Mother's Day Story

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I would post this hilarious video about moms and all the advice that they say in any given day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


This morning, a local YA librarian came to my classes and did a series of booktalks. How much fun is it!?! My 9th graders enjoyed themselves (most of them, at least) and they saw how to actually talk about the books with enthusiasm. We've been working on oral book reports all year, and they don't get any better. Grr. The best part was that the librarian brought books to give away, and brought 2 per student! It was a great experience. It was also great to get another experience seeing someone talk about stories (even plot synopses)with an audience. It was a fun afternoon.

I botched it up

Ok, so here is my story of the twelve men sent to spy on Canaan (sent by Moses). I tried telling a story through song, and I think I was just too self-conscious. I guess that that's not my style. But, here it is after all.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Storyteller Numero Quatro

This afternoon, my husband and I trekked down to Olympia (a 1 1/2 hour drive from Redmond!) for a storytelling event. I found the posting on the South Sound Storyteller's Guild website, and thought that this was something I could attend. Online, the event was titled "An Afternoon of Story and Song," and was a fundraising event for the 23-year old granddaughter of one of the guild members, who was recently diagnosed with follicular lymphoma.

I was a bit nervous going into the event because it as a fundraiser for someone that I didn't know, in a church that I was unfamiliar with (which means that most of the attendees of the event were most likely attendees of the church), and I was not feeling well. (In fact, I left early, at the intermission following the free-will offering.)

The event opened with brief introduction of the MC, Billie Mazzei, and then proceeded into a folk-song, "This land is my land..." This set the stage for the cooperative nature of the afternoon, as audience participation was not just recommended, but demanded by the performers (good-naturedly, of course). Then, another member of the South Sound Story Tellers Guild, Randi Moe (or Queen Randinka as she was referred to) told the story of Noah and the flood. This was not the normal Bible story, but was a rhythmic story accompanied by a small drum with the frequent refrain, "You wanna hear, hear the story?" She referred to herself as a griot from Biblical Africa and used the sing-song of her story to reinforce that allusion throughout. It was a great twist on a classic tale, replete with critters and storm.

After the tale of Noah, the singer, Ric Zassenhaus, led the audience in the story of the Exodus in song, "Pharoah, Pharoah." This is an adaptation of the story of the people of Israel fleeing Egypt, set to the tune "Louie, Louie." It's fun and has great movements. It works well with children, and the seniors in the audience seemed to enjoy themselves as well.

Next, Billie Mazzei told the story of her parents' honeymoon in Ireland and her father's inability to drive a stick, and then Randi returned to tell the story of long ago, when a tall tale teller needed to find a replacement. This was unaccompanied, but was humerous and involved several tall tales in one. Next, there were some gospel songs, and another story. This time, the story was about the Tailor and his new coat of wool. There was some more singing, and Billie told the story of her husband's magical piece of wood.

It was a fun afternoon, and people were in a generous mood. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.